Scientists aim for global mechanism to tame disasters
China Daily

Rescuers prepare to depart for the earthquake area in Dali, Southwest China's Yunnan province, May 21, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The Chinese scientific community will enhance cooperation with international peers in establishing a global mechanism to assess and mitigate natural disaster risks, thus promoting a safer and more sustainable world, experts said on Tuesday.

The Integrated Research on Disaster Risk is a global, multidisciplinary research program launched in 2009. On Tuesday, IRDR held an international conference to publish its working reports and findings from 2010 to 2020.

The program is co-sponsored by the International Science Council (merged by International Council for Science and the International Social Science Council), and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction.

In 2009, the IRDR International Programme Office was established in Beijing, hosted by the China Association for Science and Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

Huai Jinpeng, executive vice-president of CAST, said human history is full of struggles against natural disasters, but in recent years, the frequency and intensity of these hazards have increased, threatening our existence.

Over the past decade, China has increased its disaster prevention, reduction and rescue capabilities, and has effectively tamed a variety of natural disasters including earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and COVID-19, he said.

Meanwhile, China has also proactively participated in and supported international cooperation in optimizing the global disaster response and control mechanism.

"We are willing to continue our cooperation and contribution to IRDR, and share with the world our expertise and methods in tackling natural disasters in a scientific manner," Huai said.

He said China is willing to provide pragmatic support for existing programs and also launch major new research initiatives in natural disaster risk assessment and mitigation with global partners.

In addition, China hopes to enhance mutual trust and capacity building in jointly tackling natural disasters, which are a common challenge for humanity, he said.

"Only through mutual trust, cooperation and combining disaster prevention, mitigation and rescue efforts can the global scientific community create new policies that can effectively address our challenges," he said.

"We should uphold the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a consensus, facilitate the reform of the global disaster risk prevention and control mechanism, and use science and technology to comprehensively support disaster control efforts."

Huai said China will continue to develop science in an open, inclusive and diversified manner. It will enhance popularization of scientific findings on natural disasters, so that the public can have a better understanding of the subject and live in harmony with nature.

"China will make the fruits of natural disaster research benefit more countries and people, and contribute more to building a community with a shared future for mankind," he said.

Peter Gluckman, the president of the International Science Council, said it is important to establish a mechanism that allows government decision-makers to recognize and respond to natural disaster risks.

Mami Mizutori, the head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said IRDR has become a global collaboration platform that enables developing countries to gain new knowledge and abilities to combat natural disasters.

Riyanti Djalante, chair of IRDR's scientific committee, said disaster risk reduction is not just a technical issue, but a shared issue for all human societies that requires a joint effort by experts from the natural and social sciences, engineers and policymakers to overcome.